Bengals coach Marvin Lewis wants his team focused on the Ravens, not the loss of star defensive tackle Geno Atkins.
Losing Atkins to a season-ending knee injury last week was a major blow for the Bengals (6-3). However, Lewis said the Bengals must have the resolve to accomplish their goals without Atkins.
“I showed our guys the last four or five Super Bowl champions and the amount of people that went on IR,” Lewis said. “They overcame it. The best team in the NFL year after year finds a way to overcome all the obstacles that come along the way. Go all the way back to 2009 with the New Orleans Saints, and each year, those teams put double-digit numbers of players on injured reserve. I think that's a fact. Their leadership of the team, the maturity of the team, it all plays out. The playmakers of the team have to step up and win, and the coaching of the team. We've got to coach better and that's important. We can't let our guys flinch.”
Losing to the division-leading Bengals would make it even more difficult for the Ravens (3-5) to win the AFC North. However, Lewis expects to get the Ravens’ best shot.
“I always use the Baltimore Ravens as a measuring stick,” Lewis said. “This is a very important game for us. (It’s) a tough game, on the road, and we’re going to have to play great football.”